Journalism Internship Information
The Department of Journalism and Communication offers two types of internships for its students. One, Jour. 361, is a required internship for its majors during their senior year, or the summer preceding it. A second opportunity, which has fewer restrictions and requirements, is available for rising sophomores and juniors. If credit is needed for this optional internship, students can enroll under Jour. 232, Journalism Practicum.
General Information about the Required Internship for Department Majors
The required internship in the Department is a four-credit practical experience course in the "real world" of journalism, science writing or public relations. It is a capstone course that can provide excellent work experience and job contacts.
Credit for the required internship is available only for students who
- are majoring in journalism or journalism/science writing and
- are seniors or rising juniors for summer internships (those who will be seniors in the fall).
Students can be paid for internships and still receive credit, but very few internship sites pay.
Students are required to work at their internship for 15 hours a week for 13 weeks, for a total of 195 hours at their internship site. An additional 13 hours are devoted to working on the following materials to be turned in at the end of the semester: a 5-10 page final paper, a daily log of activities and three examples of written work done for the internship. Those taking this course for fewer credits can scale down the hours proportionally after talking to the instructor.
Internships are available during both the fall and spring semesters at sites around the Lehigh Valley or on campus, and during the summer at any location in the United States. No foreign internships are accepted for the required internship. The same requirements apply to all internships except that during the summer, communication with the instructor is by phone and e-mail rather than during several class meetings required in fall or spring.
All internships must involve some type of writing. The following types of internships are acceptable for credit:
- Public relations
- Mass media research of most types
- Web design and various online journalistic activities
Internships in marketing, advertising or disc jockey, technical or camera work for broadcast sites are not acceptable.
The instructor must approve all internships. Those available in the fall or spring in the Lehigh Valley are usually at sites that have already been approved. A new site suggested by a student must go through the approval process described under summer internships.
Prospective fall or spring interns should register for Jour. 361 for four credits. They will usually need two free days a week to work at their internship site and should consider this time requirement when registering for other classes.
To ensure the best choice of internship, students should try to arrange for an internship during the semester that precedes it. Some internships take a long time to land and need to be worked on far in advance. In addition, many site supervisors want interviews as well as background resumes before they accept students as interns. All internships are supposed to start the second week of classes, so there is not much time to find an internship once the semester begins.
Informational meetings are held at the end of September for students interested in spring internships and in mid-March for fall internships. Lists of available local internships and contacts are distributed at these informational meetings. Internships will be assigned to students on a first come, first served basis. Very few journalism programs can guarantee internships for all of their students, but the Department places all of its students as long as they fully cooperate.
Basic Information about Jour 361 Summer Internships
Students interested in summer internships must register for Jour 361 for second session summer school for four credits and pay summer school tuition.
To get a site approved for credit at a location other than in the Lehigh Valley, students should find their own internship and negotiate its terms. Then, they must ask their proposed site supervisors to email the following information to the internship supervisor:
1) a brief job description of the proposed internship;
2) some background on the site supervisor to show that this person is a professional in journalism, science writing or public relations/public information;
3) some background on the company or organization offering the internship.
Based on all of this information, the site supervisor will approve or deny the internship. If needed, she or he will try to negotiate changes directly with the site supervisor to make the internship acceptable.
The department wants an internship from which students can learn journalistic or PR skills and have a good educational experience. We want students to have the opportunity to write, edit or research material and be creative, if possible. We don't want students to have an internship that is primarily collecting clippings and photocopying them. Clerical jobs cannot be more than 10% of the job. All site supervisors must have professional journalism or PR experience.
All sites have to be approved no later than June 1 and students must start work no later than the end of first session summer school or around July 5. A summer internship can be part-time and spread across the summer or it can be full-time and completed within four to six weeks.
FAQs about summer internships
1. Students can get paid for an internship.
2. Students must put in 195 hours on site by the end of the internship period during the second week in August. The hours can be distributed part-time over the whole summer or concentrated by working full-time. You can end your official internship when you hit 195 hours even if you are continuing to work at your site.
3. Students will be evaluated twice by your site supervisor--midterm and end of the internship. She/he will be asked to certify the number of hours you have worked for the internship, among other things.
4. Final grades come from the department internship supervisor but 60% of your grade is based on your site supervisor's evaluations. The other 40% is based on the materials you turn in at the end of the internship, plus phone calls and emails to the internship supervisor during the summer.
5. Daily journal entries are required and emailed to the site supervisor biweekly. The journal entries are used to get a real sense of what is going on at your internship.